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Costly errors sink Commodores’ title hopes

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Poor defensive execution will lose you a game any day of the week. When it occurs in the one-and-done format of the PSAL softball playoffs, there is no tomorrow to atone for the previous day’s mistakes.

No. 4 Bayside committed six errors in the team’s quarterfinal game against Port Richmond Tuesday at Central Park. Three of those errors occurred in the seventh inning, which allowed the Red Raiders to score four unearned runs to take a commanding five-run lead.

Combine those errors with Bayside’s unusual lack of offensive punch and the defending champion Red Raiders found themselves with a 7-2 victory to advance to the PSAL A semifinals against Staten Island rival Tottenville.

The Commodores usually score runs in abundance. In 18 Queens A games this season, Bayside (22-4) averaged 10.5 runs per contest, scoring double digits in 10 of those games.

Enter Port Richmond pitcher Jennifer Murphy. Though she was hardly dominating (three strikeouts), a nearly flawless defense allowed her the luxury of using her fastball exclusively.

“She pretty much was ahead in the count every at bat,” Port Richmond coach Nancy Cena said. “She had good control.”

There was only one word Bayside coach Steve Piorkowski could use to describe his team’s play: disappointing.

“We played the way they [Port Richmond] did the whole season, except for today,” he said. “We choked. We choked offensively and defensively.”

Bayside also made a costly mental mistake in the top of the third inning. With Port Richmond (16-5) leading 2-0, centerfielder Danielle Mormino hit a soft ground ball back to Bayside pitcher Kim Hatten with two outs.

When she turned to throw to first, no one was covering the bag. First basemen Theresa Mehlig failed to get back to the base after charging the grounder and second basemen Allie Falco was unable to get over in time to take the throw.

The next batter, Keira Boston, hit a 1-0 fastball to the right-center field gap for a triple that scored Mormino to make the score 3-0.

Hatten would settle down after that inning, but the damage had been done. Bayside didn’t make the plays when it counted.

“There were many plays that should have been made,” Piorkowski said. “There was no excuse for making as many errors as we did.”

The Lady Commodores had an opportunity to close a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn’t get much going against Murphy. With one out, Annel Sanchez hit a single to left field and then stole second. Falco came up and hit a fly ball down the right-field line, but Cheryl Newberry was able to catch the ball just before it hit the ground. Mehlig grounded out to second base to end the inning.

Francis Lewis 3, Midwood 0. Alyssa Schneebaum tossed a no-hitter and struck out eight to lead the second-seeded Patriots past No. 7 Midwood in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Central Park. Tori Meluzin and Lisa Puccio each went 2-for-3 with an RBI for Francis Lewis (23-3), which plays No. 3 Madison (39-6) in the semifinals Thursday at Preller Field.

Tottenville 3, John Adams 2. Mary Zaun’s RBI-single helped put the eighth-seeded Spartans (16-8) ahead 2-0 in the first inning and the pitching of Francesca Romano (five hits and 10 strikeouts) kept the Pirates off the scoreboard through five innings. But in the sixth inning, No. 1 Tottenville (29-4) scored three runs on three errors to take the lead for good.

Newtown 12, Grover Cleveland 6. Monica Pahl struck out 13 and went 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs for No. 3 Newtown (16-2) in the PSAL ‘B’ quarterfinals Tuesday at Central Park. The Pioneers play No. 10 Theodore Roosevelt in the semifinals Thursday at Preller Field.

Forest Hills 9, Evander Childs 3. Fontaine Lloyd (2-for-3 with two RBIs) and Beth Goldman (2-for-3 with two runs scored and three stolen bases) led No. 5 Forest Hills (15-3) past Evander Childs in the PSAL ‘B’ quarterfinals Tuesday at Central Park. The Rangers take on top-seeded Bushwick, which beat Flushing Tuesday, in the semifinals Thursday at Preller Field.

— Dylan Butler contributed to this story

Reach contributing writer William Hernandez by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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